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Section II: The Four Essential Principles of Knowledge 3.

Introducing the Four Principles Epistemology the study of how human knowledge is obtained. How do we know what we know? and How can we verify or falsify a coherent apology of the Christian faith? Four basic epistemological premises (all of which are presupposed in Scripture): 1) The law of noncontradiction A cannot be A and non-A at the same time and in the same sense or relationship. 2) The law of causality Every effect must have a cause. 3) The basic (although not perfect) reliability of sense perception This principle affirms the possibility of being deceived by our senses but nonetheless finds our senses to be essentially trustworthy. 4) The analogical use of language The notion that two things can be partly alike and partly different.

4. The Law of Noncontradiction When we are engaged in defending the faith, and someone denies this law, the debate is over. Because if a person claims their disbelief in rationality or logic as a reason for not believing in Christianity, then they have made the case for Christianity. As we defend Christianity we are trying to demonstrate that every alternative to apostolic doctrine is an exercise in irrationality. If the only way one can escape from belief in God is by denying logic, then so be it. Noncontradiction vs. Existential Relativism These laws (of logic) were placed in our minds by the Creator during the act of creation. We speak because God has spoken. God is not the author of confusion, irrationality, or the absurd. Furthermore, his words are meant to be understood by his creatures, and a necessary condition for his creatures understanding of those words is that they are intelligible and not irrational. Is Contradiction a Hallmark of Faith? Swiss theologian Emil Brunner (1889-1966) In Truth as Encounter wrote that contradiction is the hallmark of truth. God has divinely revealed himself in his Word, not through the absurd, but through order and coherency. While we should never presume to know the content of Gods Word exhaustively, we should also never assume that he calls us to embrace irrational contradictions as a means to trust in him.

5. Contradiction, Paradox, and Mystery Contradiction vs. Paradox The historic doctrine of the Trinity asserts that God is one in essence, or substance, and three in person. In logical terms: God is one in A (essence), and three in B (person). A contradiction would occur if we said that God was one in essence (A) and three in essence (non-A), or three in person (B) and one in person (non-B), in the same sense and at the same time. The doctrine of the Trinity is not a contradiction but a paradox.

Greek para (that which is alongside something else) and dokeo (seem). Ex Matt 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Contradiction, Paradox, and Antinomy In classical philosophy, antinomy is equivalent to contradiction. Latin Contra (against) Greek Anti (against) and nomos (law) Current English dictionaries list antinomy and paradox as synonyms for contradiction. Mystery It is important to understand that the fact that something is mysterious does not invalidate its truthfulness. Council of Chalcedon in 451AD Affirmed that Jesus is truly God and truly man, and that these two natures are distinct but perfectly united. The church did not presume to define exhaustively how the union of Jesus two natures exists A mystery. Mystery vs. Contradiction Mystery involves a lack of understanding or an absence of knowledge. Contradictions can never be understood they are inherently unintelligible. Even God cannot understand a contradiction.

6. The Law of Causality Actually an extension of the first principle, the law of noncontradiction. Causality Under Attack Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Why I Am Not a Christian John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) School of Utilitarianism or Consequentialism wrote in an essay Theism If everything must have a cause, the God must have a cause. Russell regarded this as an epiphany and concluded that God could not exist. The law of causality does not require that everything have a cause, only that every effect must have a cause. Causality: True by Definition When a statement is analytically true it means that it is true by definition. If one analyzes the words within the statement and their relationship to each other, then it is clear that by its very definition, it has to be true.

7. Humes Critique of Causality and the Basic Reliability of Sense Perception David Hume (1711-1776) Often believed to have argued against causality. Actually argued that we cannot determine precisely the particular cause of a particular effect. He sought to demonstrate that we never are able to perceive causality at work. No Cause? Or No Ability to Know the Cause? Hume How do we come to know causal relationships? Through senses. These are flawed, therefore we can know for certain the particular cause of a particular effect.

Immanuel Kant and the Basic Reliability of Sense Perception Kant (1724-1804) Discerned that if these formative principles were demolished, all knowledge would be unattainable.

8. Logical Positivism and Its Ghosts Today: Analogical Use of Language Is It Possible to Know or Say Anything About God? Logical Positivism One central tenets is the principle of verification Only those statements that can be empirically verified have any meaning. Claims made with human language are true if and only if they can be proven through sense perception. All other claims are emotional and unsupportable.